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(famous for Mad Jack Fuller)

General Details topsmall

Brightling East Sussex - St Thomas  Becket church
The village of Brightling is a small farming community settled soon after the Saxon invasion of 475, the location of the village is probably lower down the hill from the original settlement which was a fortified point on the top of the hill nearer the current Jack Fullers Observatory.

In 1757 its most famous resident John Fuller ( also known as Mad Jack ), was born into one of the iron-founding families, who owned the mansion adjoining the Church. The Family became famous for its iron furnace at Heathfield which produced guns and cannons for the navy, and the forge at Burwash Weald which produced a wide range of implements. Mad Jack was one of the great English Eccentrics, a famous politician and patron of science and the arts, who enjoyed building follies.

Brightling has a collection of Follies built by Mad Jack , these consist of :-
  • Brightling Needle - a 40 ft high obelisk built on the top of the hill at Brightling, used as a beacon point during the Napoleonic Wars, and now by the ordinance survey as the second highest point in Sussex.
  • The Sugar Loaf - This was known as Fullers Point, and was built to win a wager made by Mad Jack , that he could see the Spire of Dallington Church from his house, which he could not.
  • The Temple - This is a small temple/Summer House, in the grounds of Brightling Park, built to resemble a Greek Temple.
  • The Observatory - This is built on the top of the hill at Brightling, and for many years famous for its instruments. This area is also believed to be the place that Turner, the landscape painter, did many of his paintings.
  • The Watch Tower - Again built by Mad Jack , it was believed that it was built so that he could watch the restoration of Bodiam castle, which he had previously bought.
  • The Pyramid - Built in the churchyard this was to be Mad Jack Fullers mausoleum, it was only allowed to be built by the Rector if a new Public House, replacing the one opposite the church, was to be built 1/2 mile away. This was known until recently as the "Jack Fullers" ;. One final legend of the Pyramid, was that Jack Fuller was buried inside, sitting up wearing a Top hat and holding a bottle of claret, this may or may not be true.
During Mad Jacks era, the famous artist, Turner painted a number of country scenes of Sussex, these were painted on and around Jack Fullers Estate.

The area under Brightling is a rich source of Gypsum, which is mined under the hills, and transported to Mountfield for processing via a 5 mile long conveyor belt, resembling a giant centipede.

Services TopSmall

Brightling East Sussex - The Pyramid in the churchyard
Brightling as a small village has few local services, with the exception of the St Thomas a Becket C.E. church. The nearest small towns are Battle about 6 miles to the South East, and Heathfield about 8 miles to the North West.

The nearest trains and main buses can be caught at Etchingham about 5 miles, and Robertsbridge about 4 miles. The nearest large town shopping centres are in Hastings about 10 miles South East, and Tunbridge Wells 17 miles to the North.

Views TopSmall

Brightling East Sussex - The village
The best views from Brightling are firstly from outside the church looking North West across the valley towards Burwash.

Secondly from Jack Fullers Observatory, North to the North Downs, and South West across the Pevensey Levels to the South Downs at Eastbourne .
Name Derivation TopSmall
This village is a Saxon village one of the first to be settled by Haesta around 475 AD.

Brightling is derived from Beorht(Full View) or Beorgh(Hill) el(people) ing(fort or stronghold) so it translates into either 'The Hill peoples fort' or 'The Full View peoples Fort' probably due to the commanding view available at the top of the hill. Initially it was probably just Beorghing or Beorhting meaning Hill Fort or Full View Fort as most of these ings were initially strategic defensive positions, the village was probably founded behind the hill after the area became controlled by the Saxons .

The place names ending in ing,inge or ings were usually found on higher ground, or in places which control strategic points, and appear to surround areas first settled by the Saxons.

Nearby Villages (within 6 miles)
Dallington (Custers Last Stand!) 1.9 miles
Netherfield (Arthur Blackman visits school) 1.9 miles
Burwash Weald (Roughest pub in the South East) 2.6 miles
Mountfield (17th Century Coal !!) 2.6 miles
Burwash (The home of Rudyard Kipling) 2.8 miles
Penhurst (Beautiful yet Remote) 2.8 miles
Burwash Common (Roughest pub in the South East) 3.0 miles
Ashburnham (Last Iron Furnace in Sussex) 3.5 miles
Punnetts Town (The Windmill on the Hill) 3.5 miles
Robertsbridge (The Home of Modern Cricket) 3.7 miles
Rushlake Green (Open Village and Nuclear Bunker) 3.7 miles
Etchingham (The oldest Brass Weather Vane in the country) 3.9 miles
Bodle Street (White Horse on the roof) 4.3 miles
Battle (William the Conqueror prevails) 4.4 miles
Salehurst (Richard the Lion Hearts Gift) 4.4 miles
Whatlington (King Harold's Manor) 4.6 miles
Catsfield (Iron) 4.7 miles
Stonegate (Ancient Roman Cross Road) 4.9 miles
Ninfield (Last of the Iron Stocks) 5.0 miles
Warbleton (The Iron Man) 5.0 miles
Hurst Green (The Youngest Highwayman on record) 5.1 miles
Cade Street (Jack Cade and the Kentish rebellion) 5.3 miles
Windmill Hill (Largest Post Mill in Sussex) 5.5 miles
Boreham Street (Picturesque village on top of the Ridge) 5.7 miles
Cripps Corner (Home Guard surprises the Army) 5.7 miles
Sedlescombe (Best gunpowder in Europe) 5.8 miles
Vines Cross (Cannons and Doodlebugs) 5.8 miles


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